Let’s face it. Most of us prefer to avoid difficult issues in our personal and professional lives.
More often than not, we look the other way hoping that the problem will go away on its own. Sticking our proverbial head in the sand, we forge on hoping that the issues we should be addressing will fix themselves on their own.
High Impact Business Coaching
One way to achieve genuinely high impact business coaching is to ask powerful questions. One of the questions I ask my clients frequently is this:
“What are you pretending not to see about this situation?”
It’s a challenging question that can lead to a Dangerous Conversation.
Recently, I posed this question to a senior client. He has been “carrying” an under-performing staff member for far too long and it was affecting him and the rest of his team in a negative way. He had hoped that the problem employee would somehow “come around in time” given enough help and time. But the problem wasn’t resolving itself.
The employee wasn’t a good fit for the company, and deep down, my client knew it. He was pretending not to see it because he feared making the only decision that made sense. Helping him “see” the issue clearly empowered him to take action and find the courage to do the right thing.
Another client of mine was struggling with a partner in his company. Many of our conversations had revolved around this particular individual and the challenges that they introduced to the company.
This was a chronic problem in my client’s company, and issues only seemed to resolve themselves “until the next time.” My client was frustrated, and unsure about what to do. During one of our coaching sessions, I reminded him that you have to get the right people on the bus if you hope to get to where you want to go (a principle adapted from Jim Collin’s book “Good to Great”). Then I asked him, “What are you pretending not to see about this individual?”
Without hesitation, he answered, “What I see right now is that I’ve been trying to drive this bus and keep my eyes on the future, but I keep looking in the rear view mirror because of this individual. Something has to change.”
Sophisticated leaders have the courage to see things “as they are”.
Not only do sophisticated leaders have the courage to see things “as they are”, they act on what they see.
They don’t dance around the issue; they address it. They understand that what’s at stake is too important to play games.
As tempting as it may be to take evasive maneuvers when challenges present themselves, sophisticated leaders find a way through the issue. In the end, their organization is stronger, and so are they.
Here’s the kicker. Quite often, we need help to see what’s really going on.
When we’re avoiding critical issues, we need someone we trust to call us out. That’s why I love the coaching relationship. It’s another set of eyes. Another brain in the game, and someone to be the voice of our organization when we are caught in a fog and unable (or unwilling) to see what’s really going on.
What about you? What are you pretending not to see? And who is calling you out when you’re playing the “avoid and evade” game?